Giuseppe Mazzini

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Giuseppe Mazzini (22 June 1805 – 10 March 1872), the "Soul of Italy,"[1] was an Italian patriot, philosopher and politician. His efforts helped bring about the modern Italian state[2] in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century. He also helped define the modern European movement for popular democracy in a republican state.[citation needed]



Early years

Mazzini was born in Genoa, then part of the Ligurian Republic, under the rule of the French Empire. His father, Giacomo, originally from Chiavari, was a university professor who had adhered to Jacobin ideology; his mother, Maria Drago, was renowned for her beauty and religious fervour. Since a very early age, Mazzini showed good learning qualities (as well as a precocious interest towards politics and literature), and was admitted to the University at only 14, graduating in law in 1826, initially practising as a "poor man's lawyer". He also hoped to become a historical novelist or a dramatist, and in the same year he wrote his first essay, Dell'amor patrio di Dante ("On Dante's Patriotic Love"), which was published in 1837. In 1828–29 he collaborated with a Genoese newspaper, L'indicatore genovese, which was however soon closed by the Piedmontese authorities.

In 1830 Mazzini travelled to Tuscany, where he became a member of the Carbonari, a secret association with political purposes. On October 31st of that year he was arrested at Genoa and interned at Savona. During his imprisonment he devised the outlines of a new patriotic movement aiming to replace the unsuccessful Carbonari. Although freed in the early 1831, he chose exile instead of life confined into the small hamlet which was requested of him by the police, moving to Geneva in Switzerland.

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